Being almost on our own in this vast jungle, scattered with ancient Mayan ruins brought up this powerful and majestic feeling I had never sensed before. By the time the sun was setting into Lake Yaxha, we had climbed one of the superior Mayan temples of the ruins of Yaxha Guatemala.
To be a witness of this grand phenomenon is an experience I will never forget. I would even recommend all travelers to visit Yaxha Guatemala and do a Yaxha sunset tour for the best Yaxha Mayan Ruins experience possible.
Also, check these things you should know before traveling to Guatemala!
Péten and Flores Guatemala
The Péten region in Guatemala is known for its numerous ruins and Mayan culture. Flores Guatemala is a perfect hub to visit a lot of these temples. As a tiny peninsula in Lake Peten Itza, this cozy little town is almost completely surrounded by water.
The colonial town is a fantastic place to hang out for a while.
Restaurants, bars, and hostels are everywhere and the town has a great backpacker vibe. It’s very simple to get a ride or a tour of any ruins you want to visit in the region.
The most visited ruins in the area are the Tikal ruins. After appearing in one of the fabulous Star Wars movies, people suddenly had to go there. We decided to skip the most popular ruins in the country. Instead we decided to visit Yaxha Mayan ruins in Guatemala instead!
Yaxha Guatemala – Yaxha Mayan Ruins
Yaxha Guatemala or Yaxha Mayan Ruins date back from the early Mayan civilization. Visiting these ruins will give you the experience of wandering around ancient structures without hordes of tourists to drop a shade over your unique experience.
The fact that they are less visited than Tikal Mayan ruins was one of the major reasons for us to visit these ruins.
We did the Yaxha sunset tour (in the evening) in order to see the sunset over Lake Yaxha and it was definitely worth it. We had a little extra time to wander around the Yaxha Guatemala park before the sun started to set. By the time that actually happened, we were climbing the highest temple in the park.
It was an awesome experience to sit on top of this ancient structure, just us and this guard from the park who was also just taking in the view.
Check this Wikipedia article to find out more about the history of Yaxha Mayan Ruins.
Transportation Flores and Yaxha Guatemala
Getting to Flores
Getting to Flores isn’t that hard. There are multiple ways of getting there. The Mundo Maya International Airport is located just outside the peninsula, in case you want to fly into the area and only visit Flores and the ruins.
Most visitors are backpackers who travel slowly and arrive by bus or collectivo. Since so many tourists visit the Tikal ruins each year, there are plenty of buses going to this popular hub in the region.
To get a better idea of where the different towns are located, get a free map of Latin America.
Flores is a small town and everything is easily accessible by foot. You don’t need any transportation within the city. It will take you only fifteen minutes to walk around the Flores waterfront. To get out of Flores to the nearby villages, tuk-tuks are the best way to go.
Getting to Yaxha Ruins
In order to visit Yaxha Mayan ruins in Guatemala, a tuk-tuk is not really an option. You should decide whether to get a full Yaxha tour or just transportation to Yaxha Guatemala. We decided to get a taxi to take us to Yaxha Guatemala.
Sixty kilometers in a tuk-tuk on an off-road track is not recommended unless you don’t plan on sitting down for a few days. Guatemalan taxis are not overly expensive and drivers will wait for you while you visit the Yaxha Mayan ruins.
We were a little worried that our taxi guy would just drive home and leave us in the jungle.
He had parked his car, hidden in the bushes and was vast asleep by the time we returned.
You won’t have any trouble finding transportation to Yaxha Guatemala in Flores!
Accommodation in Flores and Yaxha Guatemala
Where to sleep in Flores
Flores counts quite a few AirBnB hosts with prices varying between 15 and 80€ per night.
If you use our link to join Airbnb, you’ll get a discount on your first booking and we will get a discount too. There are also dozens of hotels and hostels in Flores. Most of the other towns in the lake area are quieter than Flores.
If you want to get away from the rush for a few days, spent some time in El Remate. In El Remate, the only sounds are the blowing wind and the animals that roam in the dark.
Important Mayan Ruins around Flores Guatemala
Visiting Mayan ruins that are located in the jungle is a great experience. Since we like the deserted places most, we enjoyed Yaxha Guatemala a lot.
It is definitely a must to climb at least one of the temples. The feeling of standing on top of an ancient Mayan ruin built hundreds of years ago and surrounded by nothing but lush jungle and wildlife.
I must admit getting that “on top of the world” feeling.
Sunset visits to ruins are a wonderful experience too.
And if you’re into long jungle hikes, check out the Mirador and Carmelita ruins.
Follow this link to find all Mayan sites in Central America.
Keep reading to discover our favorite Mayan ruins in Guatemala!
Tikal Mayan Ruins
As seen in Star Wars, Tikal ruins are pretty cool. They are the most visited and busy ruins in the area. It is located 60 km from Flores but can be done in a day trip. It’s also possible to spend a night close to the ruins if you want to visit the ruins to admire the stunning sunset or sunrise.
Best visiting hours to spot more wildlife and fewer tourists are early in the morning.
Tour buses start rolling in around 7 and they won’t go away until after dark.
For Tikal, it pays off to be early! Check the official website.
Even though Tikal is the most famous Mayan ruin in Guatemala, we strongly recommend visiting Yaxha Guatemala.
I visited it twice before and wouldn’t hesitate to go back there again.
In this park, you can walk around for hours and only meet howler monkeys and fire ants. The few people we met were the people who worked there to maintain the Yaxha Guatemala National park. They were so happy to walk with us and talk about the ruins and the monkeys.
Additionally, Yaxha Guatemala entrance also allows entrance to Nakum and Naranjo.
Since these ruins are far apart, you need a vehicle to get you to Nakum and Naranjo ruins.
El Mirador – El Tigre – El Muerte – Carmelita
El Mirador and Carmelita ruins are for hardcore travelers.
Getting to the ruins involves a multiple day jungle hike. The Mirador ruins are much older than Tikal and they haven’t been restored yet.
El Mirador, El Tigre, El Muerte, and Carmelita are close to each other, but the distance is still difficult to travel since all of it is a dense jungle.
You can opt to hike to the ruins, preferably with a decent guide. Some people choose to fly over the area, which is a great option if you have money to spare.
Yaxha Guatemala and Mayan heritage
These are just of few of the many Mayan heritage sites in the area. They happen to be the ones that interest us most.
Some of them, we already visited, while others are still on our list of places to go. Submerging yourself in the Mayan culture is something we recommend a lot. It is very interesting, to begin with.
Once you start researching the theories, religion, and beliefs, you might find yourself craving to learn more and visit even more ruins!